How to manage alcohol in the workplace

alcohol

 Alcohol in the workplace

Alcohol is becoming a huge problem in the country and can really have a huge effect on people’s lives.  It has been stated that 489 people died from alcohol poisoning in England between 2013 and 2014.  This doesn’t just affect the person, it also affects their family who then have to cope with the loss.  Unfortunately, many people don’t realize how severe it can be towards their health.

Risks of alcohol

People always underestimate the power of alcohol and what it can do to your body.  There are many long-term effects, which can relate to health and also social aspects.  Some of the health risks may include:

Long term risks of alcohol

  • High blood pressure
  • Stroke
  • Pancreatitis
  • Liver disease
  • Liver cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Depression

All of these risks can lead to death, therefore, people need to be aware of the consequences.  Some social risks may include:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Family break up or divorce
  • Unemployment
  • Homelessness
  • Financial problems

Short term risks of alcohol

Also, there are many short-term risks relating to the intake of alcohol.

After having 1-2 units (standard glass of wine) of alcohol you start to experience the hyped feeling.  This is where your heart rate speeds up and your blood vessels expand.

After 4-6 units of alcohol (pint of beer) this is when your brain and nervous system start to become affected resulting in poor judgement and very bad decision making, resulting in recklessness.  Also, you may start to become light headed resulting in the loss of  co-ordination and have an extremely bad reaction time.

After 8-9 units, (around a bottle of wine) this is a very risky number of units to have in your system.  Your reaction time will become even worse, therefore, you will be unable to drive and make decisions etc.  You’ll also find it very hard to speak as your speech will begin to slur.  Your liver will eventually struggle resulting in the inability to remove all alcohol overnight so it is very likely you’ll wake up with a hangover.

After 10-12 units, (around one and a half bottles of wine) your co-ordination will be highly impaired.  The drowsiness will start to affect your capability resulting in the struggle to walk, talk and see.  Your body will quickly pass out the alcohol in your urine leaving you badly dehydrated in the morning causing a severe headache, upset digestion, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and indigestion.  You will more than likely still be over the legal limit to drive.

Treatment for alcohol habits

There are many ways in order to treat and prevent alcohol issues.  Treatment can vary from just talking or to seeking medical attention.

Brief Intervention

An Alcohol Brief Intervention is a short, evidence based, structured conversation about alcohol consumption with a patient user that seeks help.  In a non-confrontational to motivate and support the individual to think about and plan a change in their drinking behavior in order to reduce their alcohol consumption and their risk of harm.  It usually takes around 5-20 minutes and generally involves somebody listening to the individual’s response.  Also, a brief discussion including the provision of information which may include written information such as a leaflet.  A motivational interviewing style is very likely to enhance the effectiveness of brief interventions and allows the practitioner to make the best use of a short consultation.

Drinking Diary

Another way of treating your problem could be a drinking diary, which would include information relating to how much you are drinking, when and why you are drinking.  This will help you to begin to really think why you are drinking alcohol so much.

Medication

If your habit becomes extremely severe it may lead to you having to seek medical attention.  There are a lot of drugs that can stop the addiction and the cravings.  For example, a drug called Disulfiram works by deterring you from drinking by causing unpleasant physical reactions which may include things such as, nausea, chest pain, vomiting and dizziness.  You will most likely continue to experience unpleasant reactions if you drink for a week after finishing the medication.  It is important that you maintain your abstinence during this time.

Workplace factors of alcohol

Workplace factors (working conditions, workplace customs, practices and environments) can all increase the risk of an individual’s alcohol use.  Many workers who work in isolated areas where they are separated from people may be more likely to consume alcohol.  This may because of a result of boredom, loneliness or lack of social activities where the priority focus in drinking.   Also, working long or extra hours may influence you to drink more in order to stay awake to carry out the work shift.  Adding on, inadequate job design and training may be an influence because it may lead to work- related stress which can influence an intake of alcohol in order to relax yourself.

Work performance affected by alcohol

If an individual has been drinking before or during work, it can have a number of adverse impacts on the workplace.  Firstly, the main thing that drinking may have an impact on would be safety of the workers and people around the workplace.  If somebody is under the influence of alcohol they are putting themselves and others at risk.  This would most likely result in somebody becoming injured or even dying.

Furthermore, workers relationships may be at risk if people are under the influence of alcohol at work.  The effects may impact on behviour on the individual which can result in them acting unprofessional towards clients and customers in work situations.

Workplace responses towards alcohol 

In order to develop a safe workplace, it’s important to prevent and manage alcohol- related issues in the workplace.  A good workplace response should be aimed at everyone, whether it’s a problem to be prevented or solved.  One of the main responses a co-worker can have towards an employee’s addiction is to talk.  Talking allows the employee to let out their feelings and it brings to the surface why they have the problem.   You should never come across as if you are judging them which will result in more stress on them and will carry on drinking.  A great way to respond is to make sure you check on the employee who are struggling on a regular basis to ensure they aren’t getting any worse.  Furthermore, it may be ideal to refer the employee to some potential treatment resources which can help them gain a full recovery.

Drink driving

Figures were shown that in 2015 there were over 8,000 casualties in total all due to drink drive accidents.  Many people think that it is acceptable to drive after they have been drinking alcohol, although figures state otherwise.  It is essential that you never drink and drive, not only does it put your life at risk but other innocent people’s too.

The party season is coming up and it is extremely important that you have your transport arranged prior of you are out drinking.  You could get a taxi, so make sure you leave enough money to pay for the fee.  Adding on, you may also have a friend that doesn’t drink and doesn’t mind being your designated driver.  In that way you know you can get home safe with no stress.  If you are struggling to sort your transport out, it may be that you try and book a hotel room for the night in advance and drive back the next morning.

 

There are help lines available almost everywhere.  Nobody is alone, if you need help click here.alcoholic drinks